SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

October 6, 2012

Series aims to help baby boomers transition to retirement

By Will Broaddus Staff Writer
The Salem News

---- — Retirement isn’t what it used to be, said Christine Sullivan, executive director of the Enterprise Center at Salem State.

The days of working 30 years for the same company, then receiving a gold watch and lifetime benefits as you leave, have been replaced by a situation that is very different.

“When Social Security was passed in the 1930s, the life expectancy was 64,” Sullivan said. “Now it’s in the 80s, which means you can have up to a third of your life after retirement. That’s a whole new ball game.”

For baby boomers — the generation that was born between 1945 and 1964 — figuring out what they want to do with those additional years can be challenging, Sullivan said.

That is why she is offering a three-part Baby Boomer Transition Series at the Enterprise Center, starting Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m. with the first installment, “Strategic Thinking About Your Future.”

The sessions will cost $15 each, and will be led by Jack Beauregard and Paul Cronin of the Successful Transition Planning Institute.

“They have a specialty in this whole baby-boomer area,” Sullivan said. “They have done a lot of work in financial planning. But to be a good financial planner, you have to know what clients want to do with their retirement.”

That’s why the session leaders, after talking about the financial aspects of retirement, will help people consider how they want to spend their additional years.

“There is a whole group of people for whom this is a radically demanding change, and they don’t know how to talk about it,” Sullivan said. “The way you think about finding a job is fairly standard. But how do you think about not having a job?”

The fact that baby boomers are the first to confront retirement in these terms makes dealing with it that much harder.

“There’s no model of retirement we could all point to,” Sullivan said. “In the old days, you go someplace and do something in the sun, then you fade away.

“But there’s no consensus around this any more. So we’re creating a new model of life and we’re in the early stage of it.”

Sullivan hopes this course will also be useful to people who aren’t ready for retirement, but may have been laid off in mid-career, and forced to confront a difficult transition.

“Transitions are huge things in people’s lives,” she said. “How do you even think about it? How do you fashion a life in a changing world?”

Anyone interested in registering for the series or learning more about it should visit www.enterprisectr.org.